In a suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls drift through a hot smoggy August and tedious summer school classes. There's dependable Toshi; brainy Terauchi; Yuzan, grief-stricken and confused; and Kirarin, whose late nights and reckless behaviour remain a secret from those around her.
Then Toshi's next-door neighbour is found brutally murdered and the girls suspect Worm, the neighbour's son and a high school misfit. But when he disappears (taking Toshi's bike and cell phone with him) the four girls become irresistibly drawn into a treacherous vortex of brutality and seduction which rises from within themselves as well as the world around them.
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Kirino uses her considerable narrative gifts to evoke the tedium, pressure and angst her teenage characters suffer - Publishers Weekly
Kirino creates a fictional universe in which the normal rules of engagement no longer apply...she chronicles the toxic fall out of an educational system that fosters conformity above individualism - Independent
Japanese crime queen ... a tense, worried book of actions and consequences - Guardian
She may be the best crime writer to emerge from Japan in years - Independent on Sunday
The translation is smooth and invisible... Compelling - www.eurocrime.co.uk
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, is the author of sixteen novels, four short-story collections, and an essay collection. She is the recipient of six of Japan's premier literary awards, including the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Out, and the Izumi Kyoka Prize for Literature for Grotesque. Her work has been translated into nineteen languages, and several of her books have been turned into movies. Out was the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award. She lives in Tokyo.